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10 Signs You’re A Critical Thinker

10 Signs You’re A Critical Thinker

Critical thinkers are able to analyze issues from a wide variety of angles, resulting in more success in business and life. Discover your ability to think critically today with these ten signs you’re a critical thinker.

1. You get your news from a wide variety of sources.

Critical thinkers know that partisan politics come into play at any mainstream media outlet, so they strive to learn about the world from a variety of sources that offer different journalistic voices. They check out places like the Wall Street Journal for a conservative perspective, Salon for a liberal slant, First Look Media for a more aggressive approach to investigative journalism, and they might even follow the politics thread on Reddit for a smorgasbord that offers every taste imaginable.

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2. You can have rational conversations with people you disagree with.

Critical thinkers are not afraid of a healthy debate. They believe that any opinion worth having should hold up to scrutiny, so they welcome conversations with people on the opposite side of the spectrum. While it is unlikely they will change their mind as a result of these discussions, they come away grateful for the opportunity to learn more about the thought process of their fellow man.

3. You are willing to change your mind when/if you discover you were wrong.

Critical thinkers know that it is impossible to be right about everything all the time. They’re open to the possibility that no, they don’t have it all figured it out; and when that happens, they are willing to admit it.

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4. You get irritated with people who resort to personal insults on comment threads.

Critical thinkers are often frustrated at the total lack of rationality that surrounds them on the Internet. While they aim to keep any conversation centered on the issue at hand, others inevitably resort to ad hominem attacks and personal attacks, an insulting tactic that makes a critical thinker want to slam the laptop shut and walk away.

5. You evolve as a person every single day.

Critical thinkers wake up every day, excited to have another opportunity to sharpen their thinking ability. They case aside the shackles of their ego, and wear an outfit of modesty, because they know they still have a lot to learn.

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6. You are fascinated by how things work.

Critical thinkers have an unquenchable thirst for knowledge. Their friends might accuse them of being bookworms, news junkies, or academic addicts; but they’re okay with that, because they wouldn’t trade their childlike curiosity for anything in the world.

7. You have creative, innovative, original ideas.

Critical thinkers would rather innovate than regurgitate. They make a point to learn from the successes of others, but they execute original ideas that are anything but “predictable” or “conventional.”

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While being a critical thinker is typically a plus, there can always be too much of a good thing. These final three signs you’re a critical thinker are some common pitfalls you should look out for.

8. You over-analyze issues that only require a simple solution.

Critical thinkers are sometimes guilty of turning a small problem into a bigger one. Their brain processes on a high level, searching for complex solutions to life’s complicated problems. The best solutions, however, are often the simple ones.

9. You expect too much of yourself.

Critical thinkers are typically confident (and rightfully so), but sometimes they forget that they are human just like everyone else (and just in case you weren’t aware, being human means we are all inherently flawed). We all have those moments when we lose our senses or make a bad decision; being a critical thinker does not exempt you from this reality, but it does often amplify the stress that follows. Critical thinkers should cultivate an attitude of patience and let go of their need for perfection.

10. You do too much thinking, and not enough doing.

Critical thinkers would be wise to develop the action habit in order to counterbalance their tendency to over-think. No matter how powerful your brain might be, it won’t do you any good if you’re not actively pursuing your ambitions.

Did you see yourself in these signs you’re a critical thinker? Tell us in the comments.

If this article made you think, please share with your friends so they can join the conversation.

Featured photo credit: Rest in Peace/Randy Robertson via Flickr

More by this author

Daniel Wallen

Daniel is a writer who focuses on blogging about happiness and motivation at Lifehack.

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Last Updated on October 20, 2020

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future. Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

Bonus: Think Like a Rhino

More Tips for Procrastinators to Start Taking Action

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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